► Sporty looks, low running costs
► GT Line has sub-GTi punch
► £2000 cheaper than GTi
If you want a five-door Peugeot 208 GTi then tough luck, because you can’t have one. Happily, though, there is something that looks a bit like it and packs an extra pair of door handles. It's called the Peugeot 208 GT Line.
More good news – it’s also £2000 cheaper, because this 208 is powered by a 1.2-litre triple rather than the GTi’s larger, more potent 1.6-litre four-pot.
Hot-hatch styling and running costs to rival a wind-up-radio sounds like a persuasive combination, but can this lookalike really trouble the GTi with just three cylinders under the bonnet?
I need at least double that number to have a good time…
Look, we’d normally agree, but in this brave new, radically downsized automotive world a decent three-pot can prove more exciting than a run-of-the-mill larger unit. We don’t make the rules.
That’s certainly the case here – Peugeot’s 1.2-litre PureTech motor fits a gallon of character into its half-pint pot, inspiring a wealth of fledgling clichés you’ll have read before, such as 'thrummy' and 'punchy.'
Just know this: while 108bhp and 151lb ft of torque might mean a fairly pedestrian 0-62mph time of 9.6 seconds, this boosty little motor will put just as big a smile on your face as the larger 208 GTi will in more everyday driving circumstances.
In part that’s down to the extra change in your pocket from the claimed 74.3mpg and VED-dodging 99g/km of CO2, but also because you can use more of its power more of the time. Crudely, your foot-to-firewall ratio is much higher in this car than in the GTi. We like that.
Do you get GTi niceties such as bucket seats and lowered suspension?
You get the former but not the latter. GT Line sports seats are not the Peugeot Sport buckets we’ve come to enjoy in the GTi but they add some useful side bolstering, even if they are set a little high.
Elsewhere you get some bad-boy 17-inch alloys, a chrome exhaust tailpipe and aluminium door sills – basically the Amazon wishlist of a newly-qualified driver.
It’s a good-looking car, the Peugeot 208 GT Line, and one that in this configuration is hard to distinguish from its faster stablemate.
Doesn’t the Peugeot 208 GT Line have a tiny steering wheel shrunk in the hot wash?
It does. In fact, we’ve eaten biscuits bigger than the 208’s steering wheel. It’s part of Peugeot’s interior design, called i-Cockpit, which has divided opinion; not least because it sounds like a dull follow-up to that robot film where Will Smith drives an autonomous Audi.
You do have to be the right sort of shape to fit in it properly, which admittedly makes it a bit exclusive, but if you do then there are few finer interiors in this segment. The only fly in the ointment is the fiddly and highly strung infotainment screen that has a tendency to pick an inopportune moment to decide it doesn’t want to be a sat-nav any more, shutting down of its own accord.
On the plus side, the dials are mounted up high in your eyeline and that Mario Kart wheel emphasises the darty front end, although sadly it doesn’t add any much-needed feedback.
So is it a better drive than a Ford Fiesta?
The Blue Oval’s car is still the king of all it surveys in the driving department, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun in this Peugeot.
It doesn’t feel as stiff as the Fiesta and the steering isn’t anywhere near as nicely weighted, but the front end grips well and the accompanying barks and growls from under the bonnet make you feel like you’re going 20mph faster than you are. That i-Cockpit aesthetic with its clean dash is the antithesis of the Fiesta’s archaic button-fest, too. The 208 is a much nicer place to sit.
This Peugeot supermini feels alive to every input, whether it’s the steering, the brakes or the throttle, yet will happily settle down into a comfortable cruise when you want it to thanks to a well-judged ride.
Click here for our Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost review
In reality if you’re looking for hot-hatch performance then this 1.2-litre 208 will probably leave you a bit cold.
However, if looks and the sensation of speed matter more than on-paper numbers and outright drag-race bragging rights, then this GT Line car is a fine compromise. We reckon it's something of a hidden gem in the Peugeot 208 range.
Click here for more Peugeot reviews